Talking to Animation and Visual Effects Company Iloura

Having worked on blockbusters such as Ted and Ted 2, Ghostbusters, The Great Gatsby and Mad Max Fury Road, for which they received an Oscar nomination for, Iloura are definitely an Animation and VFX company you should be aware of.  So, to make sure you are, we chatted to them about their work and their thoughts on the future of the Animation Industry. 

One of their biggest recent achievements to date is undoubtedly receiving an Emmy Nomination for their work on the Game of Thrones epic ‘Battle of the Bastards’, the most expensive fight scene so far in the series. 

JMC Academy have seen a great number of our Animation Course graduates gain jobs at Iloura. JMC Animation graduates Rachael Tannous and Rachel Neville recently worked at Iloura on the Blockbuster film ‘Ghostbusters’.

“Iloura played such a strong role in the design of our ghosts. From the first test in pre-production which they hit out of the park, everything Iloura produced was not only of extremely high quality, but had such a strong aspect of creative design, in ways that we hadn't asked or expressed. “
Pete Travers, VFX Supervisor, Sony Studios

"During the effects development we would have many esoteric conversations with our CG supervisor and technical directors about the physics of our metaphysical creature. How do ghosts behave? Do they cast reflections? Is there any resistance when they travel through walls? How does their vapour trail behave when static? After months of Houdini FX animation and Nuke compositing we nailed an impressively realistic look for ghost." – Pauline Piper, VFX Production Manager

"Going to see Ghostbusters at the cinema and seeing my name up there on the screen was beyond exciting for me. While studying I remember saying to some of my friends when we were at the movies watching the hundreds of names scroll by in the credits, “One day my name is going to be one of those” and about a year later it was." – Rachel Neville JMC graduate & VFX Production Coordinator

"Getting to work at Iloura and learn from the amazing artists and people is definitely the biggest achievement of my career to date" – Rachael Tannous- JMC Academy graduate & VFX Production Coordinator

We chatted with Magdalena Bisogni (MB) and Debbie Cramb (DC), Recruitment and Artist Managers at Iloura in Melbourne and Sydney to find out what it’s really like working on such exciting projects,.. 

What is it like working on large scale animation and VFX projects such as the Battle of the Bastards and the Ghostbusters?

MB: It is amazing. The amount of work and the challenges that go along with it keep our team constantly challenged and striving to raise the bar.
DC: It is extremely rewarding for everyone involved.  Each project has new problems to be solved and this really motivates a creative team to punch above its weight. With each film, all the disciplines just keep getting stronger. Plus it is an amazing feeling seeing everyone’s name on the credits, a great payoff for all the hard work.
What are the biggest challenges you face on a daily basis at Iloura?

MB: From my point of view it is maintaining a team that is skilled, motivated and challenged. Our work is ever evolving so keeping on top is paramount.
DC: Highly skilled resources are thin on the ground and the competition is high. It is essential to look after your core crew to retain them for the long-haul.  Time is also a huge factor, the turnaround and deadlines are getting tighter and efficiency is as equally important as quality. 
Why is Iloura different to other companies working in the same industry? 

MB: We are all striving to do work that we are proud of. Work that re-events the wheel.  What sets us apart is that we have a great time doing it. We value our team so highly and ensure that they have an enjoyable experience along the way. Being a company of around 150 artists allows us to be a bit more closely in tune with the wants and needs of our staff.
DC; While the industry as a whole really tries to look after the artists with great work conditions, (wrap parties, meals provided, standing desks etc).  Iloura is boutique (smaller, more specialised) than some of our main competitors and this allows us to have a much more personalised culture as a whole. We pride ourselves on solid communication and exceptional work ethics all around. Recently we added a meditation room during a tight deadline period and the response and results were amazing, lowering the stress levels is extremely important to our crew.
How have you found the quality of the JMC Academy graduates work that have been employed at Iloura?

MB: We had a graduate from JMC come through who was one of our absolute stars. He worked with us in FX for a few years before moving to Canada about a year ago. This graduate was of exceptional quality.
DC: I have been fortunate enough to be involved in the speed recruitment event run annually by JMC and the quality of the candidates I have hired recently has been exceptional. All three are still with the company and have progressed quickly in their chosen field, I will be back in October to hopefully sign on some new recruits.


What advice would you give to people looking to work in the industry?

MB: It is such a great industry filled with some of the best people you’ll ever meet. You need to be prepared to work hard. Learn as much as you can. Be prepared to work your way up, you will not start working on the top shots or characters, this takes time and trust. It is a high pressured industry and you need to be able to be flexible and have a great attitude if you want to succeed.
DC: Play on your strengths, know what you do well and sell yourself confidently. Also its not all about flashy technique – We don’t expect a perfect reel from an intern but what we are looking for initially, (on top of good raw talent), is;
•    Showing up on time 
•    Great work ethic
•    Maximum effort 
•    Good listener, who understands that your work needs to be critiqued often so you can learn and grow quickly
•    Easy to coach
•    Works well in the team.. I know everyone hears this frequently but no one can do the work alone
 What do you think the future holds for the Animation and VFX industry?

MB: I think we’ll see continued growth in our industry. I also see the VR world opening up which is pretty exciting also.
DC: Animated features are just going from strength to strength and the new technologies being created  are enabling some amazing childhood stories to be brought to life… Combined with the VR technology, I suspect our cinematic viewing will become much more interactive. Who really knows what the future holds but we do know it will keep growing and our tools will become more automated.

Thank you to the team at Iloura.

Find out more about studying Animation.